Inviting Independence

Motherhood Monday (view full blog schedule here)

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Caleb’s independence. Such a short time ago he was “helpless” and completely dependant on us. The truth is though, since the moment I gave birth to him, he was placed on a road of learning, growth and development. He is always advancing and discovering. Every minute he seems to become less dependant on me.

I feel like God may have given me an extra independent child. I will see that more as Caleb grows, but his lack of desire to cuddle and his urgency to move and explore has been great from the get go. I have had moments when I’ve grieved over my lack of snuggling with my baby when I see moms whose child will actually lay on them calmly! I think I had one or two weeks of that, and then he learned how to roll over!

One of the first times we gave Caleb solid foods he grabbed the spoon from my hand and put it in his mouth! He knew where that was supposed to go and figured he should be the one to put it there!

So I’ve been being challenged to celebrate all the little milestones that my baby is reaching. I’m sure every mom does, but I know it’s very common, and perfectly normal to want to keep you baby a baby, and dependant on you. The idea of a baby doing something for himself can be quite distressing to some moms. Sometimes this can come from a place of finding your worth in caring for your baby. It can creep up on you without you realizing it. I have to be on guard almost everyday. So many hours of our days go in to caring for these little people and their successes and failures become our own. There victories are shared and they naturally become our “pride and joy”.

Accepting the fact that babies grow up can be difficult. I am looking at Caleb playing on the floor right now, tossing his giant stuffed frog around telling him a story. He stops and inspects the frog to figure out just what it is. He’s learning this very moment. His little fingers that once could barely grasp my own finger, now touch, feel and cling to anything that comes close to him.

Not only do we as moms need to recognize that our worth is not found in being a mother, but we also need to receive a word from the Lord regarding our kids. If we know in our hearts that God has big plans for their lives, he wants to use them to do mighty things, we will invite independence. We will relinquish control on their existence and see ourselves instead to be the anointed servants who have been lent God’s mighty men and women to be loved, cared for and admonished.

The most amazing example of this in the bible is Mary, the mother of Jesus. There is no other woman in the world who was truly “lent” God’s only son. All of the wonderous and amazing things happened so fast for her and Luke 2:19 says

“but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”

She loved her child deeply, held on to all her treasured memories, and fulfilled her duty to the Lord.

Mary received prophetic words about her child and knew he was destined for greatness (if you needed confirmation aside from the angel!)

Luke 2:33-35 shows how amazed Jesus’ parent were by the prospect of who he was.

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Wow! Talk about motivation to be a great parents, to love that son and to encourage independence. As Jesus grew up Mary had to “let go” a lot in areas as he “grew in wisdom and stature”.

So my challenge to myself is to not try to hold Caleb back in any way (for the sake of keeping him dependant). If he wants to feed himself then I will be excited that he is growing. If he shares his faith with a friend, I won’t belittle him by letting him hear me tell someone it’s “cute”, but instead I will affirm his desire to reach out.

How do you handle letting your child have independence? I’d love to especially hear from some moms whose children are a little older now, but all comments are welcome!


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Thanks for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “Inviting Independence

  1. Above all I remind myself “it is my job to raise my kids to be ABLE and to live without me”.

    Now that they are 10, 8, 5 and 3 I find a variety of ways each child, based on age, can actually practise independence and responsibility. Responsibility is a focus that goes hand in hand with independence. Without them understanding responsibility they will be terrible at healthy independence.

    Big point is ‘talk to them like they are smart and expect more of them’. How I talk to them, honestly and clearly, not down to them, shows I expect them to be smart and make smart choices in life.

    I expect more of them, to explain somewhat what that means to me I will share some very practical examples, the spiritual examples are another story: I nudge them to not JUST read any old book but to choose books that are well written and have an exciting story. Don’t just wear what others are wearing but think about what is your own style. Don’t just say what others say but speck with understanding.

    There are some thoughts that jumped at me as I read your article. Lovely post, thanks for sharing!

    1. Those are really awesome points. I know as a child that’s what I always wanted was what you said “talk to them like they are smart and expect more of them”. So good!
      Thanks for taking the time to share!

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